Renowned Architect To Design Downtown Building - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Renowned Architect To Design Downtown Building

By Caton Bredar

(LOUISVILLE) -- Louisville's skyline will soon get another addition, and an architect known worldwide for his modern buildings will design the building planned for 7th and River Road. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar was reports.

It takes a little imagination to envision a multi-million dollar facility, but that's what Laura Lee Brown, Steve Wilson and Steve Poe appear to have, along with a lot of commitment to their hometown.

They've proposed spending over $70 million to bring to life a project that would include a 26-story tower overlooking the river, a modern art museum, parking garages, a plaza connecting the site to the Muhammad Ali Center and an elevated promenade linking museums and local attractions along the waterfront.

The blueprints are hardly on the drawing board for Museum Plaza, but the plans are big and, according to attorney Craig Greenberg, one of the members of the developing team, they could quickly get even bigger.

"There are a lot of different ideas that we're working on," Greenberg says. "We're talking to many different folks in the community on how we fill the other pieces of commercial space, but the museum, the residential condominiums, the plaza, the garage are definite pieces of the project."

Greenberg's group has retained the services of Rem Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture, a world-renowned firm that's designed some of the most famous and unique modern buildings in the U.S. and around the world. The soon-to-be next door neighbors at the Muhammad Ali Center couldn't be happier with the project or the choice of architect.

"They have one of the greatest architects on the face of the Earth today, " says the Center's Michael Fox. "I was just elated about it. Not only for the benefit of the Center and it's future constituents, but for the whole community."

With plans and blueprints still being worked out, ground hasn't been broken yet on the Museum Plaza. Any construction going on is for the Muhammad Ali Center. But it's the proximity to the Center that makes the location ideal, according to Greenberg.

The proximity to Route 64, however, is another story.

Fox says the challenge of noise from the highway is something the Center has had to deal with as well. "The challenge the Center has had, which is a similar challenge to theirs, is to see that it's engineered in a way to insure that the sound does not come into their facility," Fox explained.

And traffic isn't the only problem.

Greenberg says being close to the river puts the Museum Plaza in the flood plane, and designing and building a multi-purpose facility has it's own set of challenges. But it's the challenges -- along with the potential gains -- that seem to drive the project.

"As our architect said," Greenberg offers, "one of the things that attracted him to this is it's no doubt, a challenging site to work with. What's really motivating us is a love of Louisville and a love of downtown Louisville, and a desire to have a world-class downtown destination that people from around the world want to come to."

Greenberg says they hope to have plans for Museum Plaza finalized by the middle of next year and, with some luck, the facility ready to open by the spring of 2007.

Online Reporter: Caton Bredar

Online Producer: Michael Dever

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